BUENOS AIRES — Divisions among the world leading economies emerged from the moment their leaders gathered Friday in Argentina: Donald Trump struck his own deals and angered allies, and the leaders of Russia and Saudi Arabia bonded amid criticism from European powers.
US negotiators blocked progress at the Group of 20 summit on managing migration, slowing climate change, and streamlining how world trade is governed, according to European officials involved in the discussions.
Security concerns also weighed on the two-day talks in Buenos Aires. Argentina’s security minister said eight gasoline bombs were discovered in an area of the capital several miles from the summit venue where a protest in the afternoon drew thousands of demonstrators who held up banners with slogans like “Go away G-20” and “Go away Trump.”
The whole point of the G-20 — formed in the wake of the global financial crisis a decade ago — is finding ways to solve global problems together, but diplomats in Buenos Aires struggled to find enough things all the leaders agree on.
Trump sought to use the summit to make his own trade deals and angered the Argentine hosts by misconstruing their position on China’s trade practices.
Meanwhile, two men under heavy criticism from the West lately — Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — appeared to seek refuge in each other, bonding with a tough-guy hand grab as the leaders sat down around a huge round table for talks.
Argentine President Mauricio Macri kicked off the summit by acknowledging divisions within the G-20 while urging world leaders to have a “sense of urgency” and take actions “based on shared interests.”
Diplomats from the Group of 20 countries were haggling hard over a final summit statement, with deep divisions over what language to use on the Paris climate accord and the World Trade Organization.
Two European officials involved in the discussions said the US was stymieing progress on both.